tv BBC World News America PBS November 11, 2011 2:30pm-3:00pm PST
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>> this is "bbc world news america" reporting from washington. greece swears in a new prime minister and italy to is ready to bid farewell to silvio berlusconi. calling for international action against syria, a new report accuses president assad's forces of crimes against humanity. >> we cannot tolerate the scale of brutality and human rights abuses we have seen. >> as countries around the world stop to remember those who served, a world war ii veteran shares his sketches from the frontline.
welcome to our viewers on pbs in america and around the globe. what a week, from athens to rome, the days have been full of economic uncertainty. some major changes are under way. in italy, the senators approved an economic reform package. in greece, the new prime minister, lucas papademos, was officially sworn in. >> a new prime minister is sworn in. lucas papademos is an economist formerly with the european central bank. the country is opting for a technocratic safe pair of hands.
italy seems to be choosing the same assuring a course through the era of flamboyant leadership. the technocratic heads into the building. he could be prime minister as soon as tomorrow. a former low key european commissioners seen as effective, low-profile, and scandal-free. he was given a hero's welcome inside of the chamber and then came the speeches underlining the pressure for italy to change direction. >> we hope that this can pave the way for a government for italy to come out of this situation and avoid a default. >> the argument one the day, 164 votes 4, 12 against, one abstention. it now goes to the lower house
tomorrow. the austerity package hopes to save almost 60 billion euros and aims to balance the budget by 2014. the measures including an increase in the retirement age of women to match that of men. it will be 65 in 2026. there will be measures to fight tax evasion. the cuts will be tough but the markets and many italians welcome the change. >> i think he will be good. he inherits a complete disaster but i think he has the right capabilities. >> i hope that he does better than the last lot. >> greece and italy, two ancient european cultures. by the time the markets open on monday, they might have very
different styles of leadership. >> for more on the political upheaval that has rocked italy this week, i spoke a brief time ago with our correspondent in rome. the pace of change seems to be gathering speed. where is this sense of urgency coming from? >> we have had president obama talking about this in italy. we have had nicolas sarkozy talking to the president today parent of the markets have been going through turmoil. there is a real sense of increase momentum. they must now get in line and find some way of getting a safer government in place quickly and reassuring not just the italians and the eurozone but the
financial markets and will be waiting to see what italy has managed to achieve in terms of sorting out its political situation. >> an extraordinary new era that we can see on monday. it is hard to remember a time when italy was not dominated by silvio berlusconi. >> all we have been speaking to italians and they don't seem on the whole among the people we have spoken to sorry to see silvio berlusconi go. everyone spoke to say that it is time for a change and they want a new direction. silvio berlusconi has been promised for three times in the past 17 years. he has brought a new style to italian politics.
i think people are relieved that all of this has come with the last several months of italy being the focus of this international concern and speculation and flurry. i think that they are happy to be entering some kind of a new era with more cause for optimism. they are not under any illusions about the pain for ordinary people. >> thank you very much for joining us. now to syria where there are fresh accusations that the government there has committed crimes against humanity. human-rights watched says they have found evidence of torture and unlawful killings in the city of homs where people have repeatedly clashed with security forces. human-rights watch would like to
deceit suspended. >> the cities and towns of syria remained killing zones. more than a week after the government promised the arab week -- the arab league that they would pull out all of their security forces. this is one of the skirmishes, one of many in recent days, that have left as many as 100 people dead. the city of homs is the center of the revolution against the regime of president assad. the crackdown on protesters here is particularly brutal. up to 1000 civilians reported killed. this and allegations of widespread torture amount to crimes against humanity according to campaigners in a new report released today calling for immediate
international action. >> we hope that this will galvanize those parts of the international system that have been making excuses for months. the time is now to make pressure against president assad. we cannot tolerate the scale of the brutality we have seen. >> as the international community dithers, the protest on the ground are gaining support. according to opposition activists, increasing numbers of soldiers are defecting from the armed forces. this man is the commander of a rebel force of the free syrian army. he told the bbc they were defending the people and he said that the assad regime would only be removed by using force. that could lead to even greater casualties in a full-scale civil war in which a brutal regime is confronted by an armed
resistance. >> so what if anything can the international community to to bring this bloodshed to an end? we are joined by p.j. crowley. you heard the human rights watch person say that the time for action is now but isn't this the problem. everyone knows that the cavalry is not coming to the rescue. there is a political solution. they had negotiated a settlement 10 days ago. the credibility of the arab league is really on the line here. with that kind of international support comes the ability to add more sanctions to the table.
>> to talk about international support. the international community is not even speaking with one voice. you have china and russia divided on the security council. how can you talk about international support? >> what distinguishes syria from libya is that at least until now, the syrians have been able to hold on to the loyalty of their security forces but it takes money to do that. for the military, this is a relentless pace. they are being dispatched across the countryside to put down these protesters and it has to be grating on them. defections are increasing and that is where you will see this. >> meanwhile, normal citizens are dying. they are looking at this and the international community in seen in libya to avoid a humanitarian crisis, why can't they do the same thing here?
>> everyone understood that you have 22 countries in the region and each one would do the internal politics differently, each one would have a different case. to nietzsche went rapidly. this one is going to unfold in slow motion and i believe at the end of the day, assad will fall. >> the arab league is meeting again this weekend. it is anything that they can actually do here? clearly, assad is ignoring any call for a cease-fire. >> it is the political commitment that these to the pressure that takes the economy and regime like a sought and crumble from within. the political commitment must precede the other action.
>> at the moment, it just seems to be more words. >> at it is not all words but this is not -- but it will be a different course in libya. >> in other news from around the world, there has been an upsurge of fighting in yemen. reports say at least 11 people have been killed in clashes between militiamen and forces loyal to the president. this coincides with a visit from the u.n. envoy who was in the country to try to bring an end to the months of conflict. the mexican interior minister blake mora has been killed in a motorcycle -- in a helicopter crash. the crash killed all 8 people on board. one of his predecessors died in similar circumstances. the u.n. security council has
failed to agree over a palestinian bid for full u.n. membership. they failed to get the nine vote majority needed for the next upturn to the palestinians say they will not give up their quest. one of the world's most famous musical rebels has been sold to french-owned universal music group. it was sold by citigroup who acquired the company after the failure of the british equity firm. last weekend, the nigerian islamist group returned to the headlines with a wave of deadly attacks in the north of the country. the defense minister has admitted that his troops were caught by surprise and that has reignited a debate on how to best battle the militants.
>> the damage was clear to see come out churches were burned to the ground and young men went on the rampage. more than 100 people died. for weeks, the bodies have been buried and thoughts are turning to what the government could have done to halt the deadly rise of boko haram. >> the government resorted to illegal strategy is which in the long run only tends to give the group a measure of support and sympathy. >> those that have dealt directly with boko haram say that their demands are justice for those that have been murdered by the police. impossible butd the military said that for them to withdraw, there must be stability first.
>> they must reduce or stop the killings and i believe that we are waiting to do that. once the killings are stopped, the issue of the grievances of boko haram will also be addressed. >> the government's critics say that there has been too much emphasis on the military option which has damaged the prospect of talks taking place. >> brute force can never stop this. >> brute force can never kill an idea. what can kill an idea is negotiation, dialogue, and understanding. >> do you think that the current government is capable of doing that? >> no. this government has no idea. >> boko haram has hit the
capital twice this year and they've promised to strike again. this is now the entire country's problem. >> you are watching bbc world news america, still to come -- capturing the battle through art. the visual memoir of a world war ii soldier is revealed for all to see. venezuelan authorities said today that they're confident they can quickly solve the kidnapping of a member of the washington national baseball team. he was back in his home team during the american of season and there has been no reports of a ransom demand. the government says they are vigorously pursuing the kidnappers. >> in baseball venezuela, the thought of the american -- of a local player making good in
america is the dream. like many players, he returned home during the off-season and was due to play for his venezuelan team. on wednesday, a group of armed men took him from outside of his parents' home near the city of valencia. every year, there are believed to be thousands of the deductions in venezuela. most are express kidnappings and often go unreported. more than 24 hours after ramos was taken, there is no word from him or the government -- or the people that took him. the government has said it will do everything in their power to find a player. >> we have not had any to medications but we did have was a very important find. we found the vehicle that the criminals used to commit the crime. >> the u.s. major league and the washington nationals have expressed their deep concern and
have said they're working with the venezuelan authorities. the kidnapping is a serious concern for top athletes in venezuela, some of whom have had family members targeted in the past. this high profile case has returned the issues of crime and civil security in venezuela back to the top of the agenda. >> in china, the price of a blind chinese activist has captured the imagination of people inside and outside the country. he has refused to offer legal advised to those want to go against the government. we went to see if we could see
him. >> there is an activist has been a focus of discontent. he is not allowed visitors. shady figures supposedly guard him but we're going to try to see him. the men are waiting and know exactly what to do. when they realize we are journalists, they burst open the doors and go through everything. this is a glimpse into the world that many don't know exists in china. quickly and efficiently, they are carrying out the work of the state. they did not identify themselves but they're obviously authorities. suddenly, they eat through our equipment back at us, close our doors, and told us to leave.
-- they went through our equipment, they closed our doors. this man used his knowledge to help women who had been forced to undergo abortions. now they're keeping him a prisoner in his own home. this video shows how closely he is being watched. >> there is no law that allows the government to place restrictions on him. he should have the full range of freedoms, the freedom to move around, the freedom to speak out, the freedom to meet friends. >> if china's leaders hope that people would forget about him, they were wrong. dozens of activists like this man, have traveled to see him. he says he was beaten out but that will not stop him. >> when i heard about this blind lawyer who fights for him and writes, he represents people for
no personal gain, i was deeply moved and that is why i wanted to see him. >> others have shown their support in a different way, they have posted photos of themselves wearing glasses just like the lawyer. this is a symbol of the unhappiness with the government and the heavy-handed way of dealing with that discontent. >> around the world, numerous countries stop to remember those who died in service of their country. the french president marked the occasion by laying a wreath at the tomb of the unknowns soldier. here in the u.s., president obama took part in a similar ceremony at arlington national cemetery. modern technology has made those images of war all too familiar
but sketches drawn by a world war ii veteran are still having an impact. he went through germany with his paper and pains in tow. now, his members have been collected in a soldier sketchbook and he spoke to us about the experience. >> we lost contact and our lieutenant told us to stay put and he would go ahead. when he walked by me, he looked at me and he smiled and waved. he went forward maybe 20 feet and i heard a shot and it hit him right in the head. he died immediately. suddenly, this was our very first loss. i graduated in 1942 and next
year, i was still 18 and i was drafted. i joined -- i drew right from the beginning. we landed in france. by then, it had been captured. shortly thereafter was our first battle. this was one of the most important sketches i think. we were lying there behind the gun fire and the trees had been blasted and clear of any foliage. that was my first contact with actual combat and i knew how close i came to being killed and this could be my last day. since we were a machine gun squad, we had a jeep to our
disposal. i had art supplies with me. i had pence, i had india ink, pencils, pens. whenever we were off the line, i was able to draw. i would draw my surroundings. one day, i had my lieutenant pose for me and i retained the drawing. i was on furlough and it was one of the most terrific battles. when i returned, the battle was over. in 2004, i turned 80. i thought, if i'm going to do
anything with these letters and drawings, i'd better do it now. i wanted to do it with my family, i wanted them to know what i went through. this is a record of a common soldier. i was not a great hero. when you see a movie, they are usually action and bravery. mine was a common and every day event of what we went through and what thousands of g.i.'s went through. >> all those years later, those drawings have not lost their power. ito some -- joseph farris and his wartime pictures. for all of us, thank you for watching and have a good weekend.
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